Dec
03
2004

Jim Lobe on Rumsfeld & Latin America, Chad Graham on 20/20 & Matthew Shepard

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Media didn't find much newsworthy in Donald Rumsfeld's recent trip to Latin America, but our guest says that Rumsfeld's comments at the conference of the hemisphere's defense ministers actually yielded significant signals about the Bush administration's policy toward the region. Jim Lobe has written for years on international affairs for Inter Press Service, Foreign Policy in Focus and other outlets. Also on the show: the October 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard provoked a national conversation about hate crimes and homophobia. But on November 26, ABC's 20/20 program offered a stunning re-assessment […]

Sep
01
2004

Media's Gay Marriage Consensus

Insider critics charge press didn't play it straight

Brides kissing (CC Photo: Ben Salter)

When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in November 2003 that the state could no longer deny gays and lesbians the right to marry, it touched off a string of events that have kept gay marriage in the media spotlight for months. With that new-found prominence has come scrutiny from watchers of the media, with mainstream media critics and ombudsmen from prominent newspapers seeming to reach a consensus: News media have a pro-gay bias. Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz (WashingtonPost.com, 7/26/04) found fault across the board: "ALL of the press was being way too sympathetic to the gay marriage […]

Apr
01
2004

Activism Shifts Coverage of Proposed Gay-Marriage Amendment

Even before George W. Bush endorsed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, the amendment's potential impact was clouded by careless reporting. Some advocates claimed that the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment would permit states to allow civil unions for gays and lesbians -- a disputed interpretation that a number of media outlets failed to question. On February 11, ABC World News Tonight correspondent Terry Moran explained that the amendment "would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but allow states to establish civil unions for gay couples." Moran continued by saying that "some conservatives are unhappy that […]

Feb
27
2004

ABC, NY Times Respond to FAIR Alert

On February 16, a FAIR action alert called on ABC World News Tonight and the New York Times to offer a more nuanced explanation of the possible effects of a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. While some proponents of the amendment claim it would allow states to offer same-sex civil union arrangements, some legal experts suggest that the vague language of the amendment could actually ban civil unions. In response to emails from FAIR activists, New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent wrote on his web journal: "I urge the Times to report on it more fully -- not […]

Feb
16
2004

Amendment Deception Needs Media Clarity

(NOTE: Please read the update to this action alert) Backers of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage have created a misleading impression of their legislative plan-- a deception that some media outlets have not properly explained to readers and viewers. The dispute centers on the fact that some advocates claim that the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment would permit states to allow civil unions for gays and lesbians. On February 11, ABC World News Tonight correspondent Terry Moran explained that the amendment "would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but allow states to establish civil […]

Jul
07
2003

Savage Homophobia on MSNBC

(NOTE: Please read the update to this alert--Savage has been fired by MSNBC.) When radio talkshow host Michael Savage was given his own show by the cable TV channel MSNBC, network executives said that the new show should not be judged by Savage's previous hate-filled remarks, but by what he said on the TV show itself. A recent outburst by Savage, however, suggests that the host's prejudice and hatefulness have not been constrained by his new venue. The incident started when a caller to Michael Savage's July 5 MSNBC show, Savage Nation, apparently tried to get some kind of prank […]

Feb
12
2003

GE, Microsoft Bring Bigotry to Life

The latest hire by the cable news network MSNBC-- co-owned by General Electric/NBC and Microsoft-- is Michael Savage, a radio talkshow host noted for his unabashed bigotry. Savage is scheduled to have his own weekly one-hour show on MSNBC beginning in March. Savage routinely refers to non-white countries as "turd world nations" and charges that the U.S. "is being taken over by the freaks, the cripples, the perverts and the mental defectives" (San Francisco Bay Guardian, 9/20/00). In a recent broadcast he justified ethnic slurs as a national security tool: "We need racist stereotypes right now of our enemy in […]

Sep
01
2001

Controversy, Not Credibility

A study of 'gay change' with the results media were looking for

Thousands of scientific studies are conducted every year, but only a fraction of these ever see newsprint. Even fewer dominate the news cycle for weeks, transform researchers into culture war commentators and move the public debate. At the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting on May 9, two unpublished, non-peer-reviewed studies offered opposing reports about the effectiveness and potential safety risks of "reparative therapy" to "convert" lesbians and gay men to heterosexuality, a practice long-denounced as unethical and futile by the APA and most mental health professionals. For one presentation, titled "200 Subjects Who Claim to Have Changed Their Sexual Orientation […]